Our survey results were clear!
A majority of Koreans have benefited from regular conversations with native English speakers. Finding native speakers to talk to can be daunting but there are certain strategies that can help you.
The most obvious and meaningful ways to improve your Speaking skills is to speak English with English Natives and engage in active meaningful conversations with English speakers who have a higher level of English than you. Something that is obvious but is not widely utilized is your own environment. There are free English opportunities all around you but like many people, you can be somewhat blinded to all the potential possibilities. The best opportunities are the ones that will force you to participate and converse in English without having to spend money to live abroad. These opportunities are everywhere.
What should I focus on?
Don’t focus on speaking only to one native speaker. Try to engage with several speakers from all nationalities where English is spoken. Being familiar with one accent or one type of speaking can be counterproductive, because you are only going to be exposed to one person. Ideally you want to spend time talking to a variety of native speakers, each with different skillsets and perspectives on life. Of course spending time with one native speaker is better than spending time with no native speakers.
Where are the free opportunities to access free speaking opportunities?
Look at your work and community. Do you work with any fluent English speakers? Try to initiate a conversation with them. If they are new to Korea, offer to help them with any issues they may have. Native English speakers who live in Korea commonly have issues with banking, where to shop and eat and figuring out how to travel around Korea. Offer the English speaker with any advice that they may need in the future. Don’t be pushy. They may take you up on your offer. Just by offering any help to an English foreigner will be a good start to building a friendship and lead to engaged conversations. If you do not work with any native English speakers then find out where English people hang out.
Where are they?
How can I connect with English speaking people in Korea? Try doing a search on a social networking site like Facebook, or Google Plus and search for Korean expats sites, English Natives in Korea, Native English Teachers in Korea for starters. You should have a Facebook and Google Account to access this information. Once you have reviewed these expat sites-try to figure out what types of events are taking place. Quite often you can find out meeting times and places that native English speakers go to. For example there is a Native English bowling night, once a week in Busan. Do you like bowling? Find out the location and time and try to show up if the schedule works with yours. There are clubs for almost every kind of interest and activity. I recommend that you chose clubs that fit your interests. Some of the Facebook clubs are closed to only expats but there are many Facebook clubs that are open to Koreans. Take advantage and add yourself to several online expat clubs. Once you attend these events then use my suggestions when talking to English speaking people. Try to offer any assistance to the English natives. This will further a good friendship and relationships with native English speakers.